Tag Archive 'politics'

Mar 13 2008

It’s not your money.

Published by under Current Events

There’s a disturbing trend right now among “socially aware” Americans, and that is to villainize the wealthy. These so-called activists, liberals, or just plain old spoilers are very, very unhappy that anyone has the gall to have money when there are poor people in the world.

This blog post, which I found last night, outlines this phenomenon very well. Drew Barrymore has given $1Million to the UN’s World Food Program, which is admirable indeed. I applaud her, and if the post just did the same, I would have no problem. However, it goes on to decry the fact that all celebrities do not give their money away until they are living in regular homes and eating at McDonald’s with the rest of us. And that, I think, is the point.

These kinds of people are not really angry that the rich are rich. They are angry that they themselves are not rich, too. It’s not a matter of being upset that the wealthy are hoarding resources that could be used for the betterment of the world, it’s that they are living a life that most of us will never come close to touching. It’s not really about raising other people up, it’s about dragging the elite down to our level.

There is a reason that most of the wealthy are wealthy. Oh sure, some of them hit the lottery – they were born into their wealth (see Paris Hilton). But far more wealthy people are that way because of something they’ve done or some talent they possess – they designed an operating system, or they really can act, or they play the stock market like a piano. They did something for that money. It is their reward for some kind of contribution. It is theirs to do with as they please, even if that means turning it all into quarters, putting it in a big vault, and swimming around in it Scrooge McDuck style.

Like it or not, comrade, we live in a capitalist society here in America. We are not communists, or hippies living in some giant commune. It will never be Angelina Jolie’s turn to bake the bread and do the laundry for the week, no matter how many times you put her name on the community chore board. And speaking of St. Angelina. . .

When a wealthy person does contribute some of their time or money to charity, he/she is almost canonized in the court of public opinion. They can do no wrong, because they have taken the time to notice that other people don’t have it so good. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are the two who spring automatically to mind, because they have been glorified in the media to such an outrageous extent. These two are the new Holy Family of America, and that’s because they make sure everyone knows how much of themselves they give away. No one remembers that time a few years ago when Angie was a homewrecker and Brad was a cheating bastard, and Jennifer Aniston was the poor victim of their scandalous ways. That has been erased from the public consciousness, because Brangelia adopt foreign babies and are helping to rebuild New Orleans.

I’m not trying to downplay the contributions that Jolie and Pitt have made to their chosen causes – they do a lot of good, and they give a lot of their own time, which is even more important (according to all the charity people). I’m just trying to say that contributing to charity does not magically turn a person into a worthwhile human being. The flip side of that coin, of course, is that if you NEVER give to charity, that doesn’t make you a poor human being.

I’m not trying to say that the wealthy don’t have a certain social obligation, but it is not to give away all of their money until they are leading a middle-class life. And it is certainly not up to us, those who didn’t earn any of that money, to decree how it should be spent. Keep your eyes on your own paper, and do what you think is right in the ways that you can. No matter how much you whine and complain, that money will not come your way unless you earn it yourself.

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